“Your flaw is to seek convenient explanations, explanations that fir you and your world…The explanation is not what you would call an explanation; nevertheless, it makes the world and its mysteries, if not clear, at least less awesome. That should be the essence of an explanation, but that is not what you seek. You’re after the reflection of your ideas.”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

Lonely is Better

n

I have been in Israel for a few days and will be here for a few more. I came because my father injured his spine, went through surgery and is now embarking on a journey of recovery. I came to offer what help and support I can.

Before coming here I was in a long continuous period of retreat. I hadn’t left Bhudeva for almost three months, had spoken to very few people other then Iulia and was quite happy to continue that way. Coming out of retreat into this reality is jarring. I feel a bit like I imagine the Buddha felt in the story where he, a prince, left the confines of the castle and encountered suffering in the world.

Here, now, around me, at ground level, I see an ugly world with so much unmanifest potential. I see people divided, animalistic politics, primitive “reality” on TV, and people moving around like zombies … hardly aware of each other, hardly aware of themselves. My father’s physiotherapy sessions take place on the 5th  floor of a 6 story building that towers over the center area of this small city. I got to see this part of the city, I know so well, from this slightly higher perspective … and it is so ugly. I wonder: if the building was much taller, would the ugliness fade out and be replaced by something better? how high would I need to go for that to happen?

When my father is intellectually engaged with intellectually engaging to “gain a sense of control over an abusive world” he seems vital and distracted from his pains and limitation. At other times he seems to tired and broken, slouching in his seat. I remember a picture of his father, having fallen to sickness, sitting slouched on a his couch … and now I see my father … and a shiver passes through me.

Yesterday the circumstances were right for his broken spirit to come through and express itself. He shared a feeling of emptiness. He says most people their age are busy helping with the grandchildren. They have no grandchildren. He has nothing to do, no purpose to pursue and guide him. When I said briefly that I feel the same, he explained to me that he doesn’t have long to live, I still have plenty of time to figure it out.

… I am getting, for the first time in my adult life, reading-glasses … I felt my eyes get weaker this past year … a clear slightly fuzzy sign that I have plenty of time!

… and here Sunni … at 4:30am … after listening to a rainfall … here is where I meet your words “welcoming … there in lies your work.”

I feel like my consciousness has been lifted in this lifetime … maybe not much … just a bit  … the 5th story feels like a suitable metaphor. High enough to see the numbness and zombieness. High enough to discern that there is so much potential … and so many good intentions. High enough to discern that good intentions do not obviously translate into good actions … that correct effort is not yet a common skill.

I managed to escaped the zombies and the numbness. They would have been content hypnotizing me into believing that I am depressed … that there is something wrong with me … and that THEY can help me, THEY can fix it. They would have filled my body with chemicals that would have numbed me … enough to not feel depressed … enough to not feel me … enough to not feel. And that would have been a lucky outcome … because in the not too distant past they may have tried to “reboot” me by electrocuting my brain or to actually cut a part of it out.

It feels darker around me, now that I am looking at the laptop screen … but the bird-song tells me morning is coming … and that the birds feel refreshed by the rain.

There have been many times that it seemed that a baby would have “made things right” for others around me … and through them maybe even to the “totality” of my life experience. There have even been times where I felt swallowed by a deep, powerful, loving, demanding presence that “surrendered” me to it. I have many times felt a deep capacity to love. But, there have not been times where I felt able to be sincerely welcoming.

Welcoming to what? I feel like I can barely make my own way in this world. I feel profound hurts and pains as I write those words … tears coming to my eyes. I also feel peacefully able to be with and in those hurts and pains. But the sum of those two movements, the hurting and the being, adds up to a delicate emptiness … a stillness. It doesn’t add up to “welcoming”. It doesn’t add up to feeling adventurous. It doesn’t add up to feeling like I have a capacity to nourish and provide for and protect a baby. For that it seems that AT LEAST I would need to feel welcomed and nourished and protected.

But, for whatever reasons, that hasn’t been my life experience. I do not say that as an excuse and I carry no sense of blame towards anyone in my past. And I recognize the love and caring that has been and is present in my life. I simply want to acknowledge that is where I am. I do not have a time machine to go back and re-do / un-do what has been done. I am grateful that I’ve found my teachers and the teachings that pass through them that make it possible for me to peacefully inhabit what I am. Being present in your meditative space makes me feel connected … as if I am looking across the town center to another building that is also slightly higher than its surroundings … and there in a window I see you … and you too are looking around … and our eyes connect … and we connect … and in our eyes I see that you have seen what I have seen. But those words “welcoming … There in lies your work” … feel like a punch to the gut.

It seems like there are plenty of narratives which could explain how my life journey is devolving, how I’ve given up, how I’m stuck, how I’ve lost. There are moments where I am vulnerable enough to be effected by such narratives. But for me the loneliness I’ve arrived at in life represents a journey of clearing, healing and strength. Peaceful, clear & lonely is, for me, better then “depressed” and medicated into a numbed and comfortably socialized life.

… welcoming … not there (yet!?)
… and I don’t know if there is space enough in this lifetime for me to get there
… and I don’t even know if “welcoming” is at all on the trajectory that I am on … is it ahead of me or have I passed it?
… I do feel that I am open to receiving clear guidance that I can assimilate, hold and act on
… and I do feel that I am open to receiving guidance that I may not even recognize as guidance and that will move in me despite my conscious rambling
… I do know that that one word leaves my exposed heart feeling alienated and alone.
… I do know that I increasingly … feel like an ending
… and it is a difficult notion to hold peacefully

… and dawn has come and gone .. and morning is here and I want to close my eyes a bit more.

 

 

 

 

Posted in About, Myself | You are welcome to add your comment

The Isolation of Science

n

This is a good example of intellect-run-amok … how to heal science from its isolation and to bring it back into context? is there a more pertinent and fascinating science question? how deeply has this systemic flaw held us back from developing as individuals and societies? how much effort will it take to repair the damages we have incurred because of this arrested development?

“Over the next decade, Osmond and Hoffer tested this hypothesis on more than seven hundred alcoholics, and in roughly half the cases, they reported, the treatment worked: the volunteers got sober and remained so for at least several months … ‘we considered not the chemical, but the experience as a key factor in therapy’

… Osmond and Hoffer were learning from their volunteers that the environment in which the LSD session took place exerted a powerful effect on the kinds of experiences people had and that one of the best ways to avoid a bad session was th presence of an engaged and empathetic therapist, ideally someone who had had his or her own LSD experience … Though the terms ‘set’ and ‘setting’ would not be used in this context for several more years … Osmond and Hoffer were already coming to appreciate the supreme importance of those factors in the success of their treatment.

… Based on this success the Saskatchewan provincial government helped developed policies making LSD therapy a standard treatment for alcoholics in the province. Yet not everyone in the Canadian medical establishment found the … results credible … In the early 960s, the Addiction Research Foundation in Toronto … set out to replicate the … trials using better controls. Hoping to isolate the effects of the drug from all other variables, clinicians administered LSD to alcoholics in neutral rooms and under instructions not to engage with them during their trips, except to administer an extensive questionnaire. The volunteers were then put in constraints or blindfolded, or both. Not surprisingly, the results failed to match those obtained by Osmond and Hoffer. Worse still, more than a few of the volunteers endured terrifying experiences – bad trips, as they would come to be called.”

Michael Pollan – How to Change Your Mind , The New Science of Psychedelics

Posted in Intellect Run Amok, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

Overtone

n

This is the most discerning demonstration I’ve heard of overtone singing!

Feels like I needed to hear this now … two tones: sometimes one is still and the other moving, sometimes the other way around, sometimes moving together … sometimes moving apart … always relating.

… works for me as a sound that sends me in … doesn’t work for me in the context of western music.

Posted in Enjoy, inside | You are welcome to add your comment

Yoga Practice – Winter 2018/19

n

I am again nearing a review with my teacher and so decided to take note of where I am in practice.

Current Practice

My current practice routine fills my morning and is about 120-150 minutes:

Part 1: Entering Practice (~ 5 minutes)

  1. Samasthithi – hands on my heart space, allowing the mind to settle and come to body and breath + transition to Ujjayi breathing.
  2. Short chant (currently: ma aham)
  3. Kapalabhati 3×40 breaths

Part 2: Asana (~75 minutes / ~ 140 breaths)

the asana sequence is still very close to what it has been (<- link includes stick figures diagram of very similar practice) for some time now, with the addition of shoulder-stand and a continuous evolution of breath within the practice.

(the sequence below does not include counter-postures and rests).

Standing TOTAL: 34 breaths
tadasana R4 10.2.0.2 4 breaths
uttanasana R2+S2 10.4.12.4 6 breaths
parsva uttanasana R2+S2 / – 12.4.12.6 12 breaths
trikonasana (uddhita + parivrti) ALT4 + [ALT4 + S1] 8.2.10.2 12 breaths
utkatasana R6 8.2.10.2 6 breaths
Kneeling TOTAL: 6 breaths
adhomukha svanasana S6 8.0.10.0 6 breaths
Lying TOTAL: 18 breaths
raised leg variations 10.2.10.2 8 breaths
dvipada pitham R4 – S0/1/2/3 10.2.12.2 10 breaths
Inverted TOTAL: 10 breaths
sarvangasana S10 8.0.8.0 10 breaths
Backbending TOTAL: 20 breaths
bhujangasana R4 8.0.8.0 4 breaths
bhujangasana + bent knees R4 8.0.8.0 4 breaths
ardha salabhasana R4 + S1 8.0.8.0 8 breaths
salabhasana (incremental) R4 8.0.8.0 4 breaths
Seated TOTAL: 52 breaths
dandasana R2+S2 10.2.12.2 4 breaths
janusirsasana R2+S2 (midrange + micro) 10.4.12.4 12 breaths
matsyendrasana R6 8.0.10.0 12 breaths
mahamudra R12 / – 4×12.2.12.2

4×12.2.12.4

4×12.4.12.4

24 breaths

Part 3: Sitting (~30-60 minutes)

  1. Resting: a couple of minutes
  2. Pranayama – 36 breaths: ~ 15 minutes. I am comfortable with all the variations I’ve been exploring (for over two years now?), recently I’ve worked with variation 3 and before that 1.
  3. Sitting:
    1. Bringing my attention to the space between each thumb and index finger … if that works
    2. Seeing which hands calls for attention first
    3. Very slowly (butoh style) bringing the thumb and index finger together until they touch (cit mudra) on that hand
    4. Very slowly bringing the thumb and index finger together until they touch on the other hand
    5. Placing my attention on the two points of contact
    6. Staying …
    7. Gently disconnecting the two contact points – first one hand then the other
  4. Closing ritual
  5. Counterpostures

Part4: Chanting (~10 minutes)

  1. Yoga Sutra verses 1-11 incremental

Questions for my teacher

  1. In what direction to evolve pranayama? I have had quite some days where I felt my channels open enough to support nadi-sodhana (quite a milestone after years of practice) … but I am not sure that there is enough stability for such a transition.
  2. How to continue my chanting practice and exploration? I like the YS chanting because it has body … depth enough for me to experience immersion … I don’t get that feeling from short chants.
  3. Overall balance of practice.
  4. Psychedelics

 

Posted in Pranayama Journal, Yoga, Yoga & I | You are welcome to add your comment

Indra Adnan On New Politics, Soft Power and the Feminine

n

I am increasingly feeling disconnected from podcasts (and other materials) about subjects I care about (or think I care about!). I mostly feel that ideas are not well grounded and talk about (what strikes me as) disassociated fantasies. The latest wave of disappointment comes from this list from Richard Bartlett (whose work and person I admire very much!). But then I came across this podcast with Indra Adnan who talks about politics from a practical and actionable feminine perspective – a nourishing and soothing listening experience.

There were quite a few shimmering thoughts in the interview, but what stood out and stuck in my mind was an invitation to explicitly re-ask what politics is about – what are we coming together to do when we “do politics” … do we automatically inherit the (seemingly default) work of keeping the economic-growth machine running, or do we want something else … maybe the well-being of our society?

I also felt softly and intimately “seen” when she talked about people who have stepped outside of society and who have acquired tools and offerings that society needs. That also triggered some sadness in me as I don’t feel hopeful about that happening for me.

I am not currently engaged in anything political, but I did want to make a note of this so I can share with a few relevant people.

 

Posted in AltEco, Community, Intake, Oameni, outside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours